Improve Your Brain Circuits to Change

In spite of popular belief, new experiences don’t necesserally help us keep an open mind or make us more performant. They could more than likely trigger some negative thoughts like “I wish my relationship was this perfect. If only my boss could notice how hard I’ve worked on this project. I wish I could afford to do that more often.”

Are we doing ourselves a favor by being all over the place experimenting every new trend? According to neuroscience, probably not.

Once a negative thought enters your mind, you’re caught in a downward spiral, entertaining a bunch of ideas that disempower you. The new experience just confirmed to your brain that you’re not quite good enough and that trying to find the fault is the appropriate way to react to a new experience. You are hard wiring your brain to react this way, which in turns makes sure that it becomes an automatic unconscious response. It’s like if your brain is thinking “This must be the best way to handle this kind of situation since we do it all the time. Let’s make sure that we continue doing that.”

To help you change your ways:
– You need to become aware of these thoughts, usually by how you start to feel and the emotions that surface.
– Once aware change your train of thought or what you’re doing by choosing to question your perception asking yourself if it’s really that bad or if it’s only your brain playing an old trick on you.
– It’s now time to redirect your actions or mental processes to something productive and empowering.
– Take note of what just happened. You will be in a better position to reflect and evaluate your progress.

It’s only through repetition that you hard wire something and that it becomes a unconscious way of being or of doing something, in other words, a habit.
Yes, it takes time and effort.

Is it worth your while? You bet! Improving you, and improving your life is the name of the game.

Would like to know more?
Jeffrey Schwartz, MD and Rebecca Gladding, MD wrote a book on this subject: You Are Not Your Brain
Their website
Brain World Magazine

Tell me what habit you’ve tried to change and what you did, I’d love to know!

From the depths of change

Have you ever had to make a TOUGH decision? Tough because all options have good logical reasons. And the more you go over the reasons, the more they seem to have validity?

All summer I’ve been in the limbo about taking over a rather new HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) company. My dilemma came from 2 things: first, I don’t know much about HVAC, and second, I wanted to start my own company in coaching, training and seminar leading. 2 very different options. In one hand I had a company offered to me on a silver platter with business coaching support and the other my budding coaching practice with 3 clients for now with no support and the potential to be criticized for not performing and bringing home THE money. It occupied my mind completely. I started loosing sleep over it.

That’s resisting change and letting fear of it dominate mind, conversations, feelings. And as more time was spent in indecision, the harder it got to make a decision. The spirit of Doubt was getting stronger and bigger by the day.
Knowing the mechanism of fear, I was looking at my actions, aware of where it all came from. And, that’s were the awareness stopped. The tools I needed to use to reverse the situation were eluding me, overshadowed by doubt and indecision. I got frustrated because I knew I had the answer somewhere inside of me. Where was it?!

It would have been easy to go back to “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and re-read the chapter on decision.
– “You have a brain and a mind of your own. Use them and reach your own decisions.”
– “Financial independence, riches and desirable business and professional positions are not within reach of the person who neglects or refuses to expect, plan, and demand these things.”
– “The world has the habit of making room for those individuals whose words and actions show that they know where they are going.”

At the end of the summer, I chose the HVAC company because of the support and the feeling of legitimacy it gave me. Not strong enough yet to embrace my own dream. Instead I would support someone else’s dream.

It’s still not easy. I still don’t feel adequate most of the time (the perfectionist in me), but I’m taking decisions everyday, strengthening my decision-making muscle. The doubt comes back when I’m faced with challenges. And then I remember the power of persistence in the midst of all these changes…

How did you deal with the ghosts of fear, doubt and indecision when faced with a big change? I’d love to hear your story! Do share!

My Love for Speed

As we are getting on the tarmac and the engines of the plane start winding up, I feel  excitement. I love when we take off, my body being pushed in the seat because of the pressure created by the high speed.  I have a big smile on my face. I love when the plane turns.  I think it must be fun to be a pilot.

As we are flying over lighted cities, just above some light clouds, I start thinking what else brings me this sense of excitement and where it could be coming from…

The first thing that comes to mind is my experience in one of my friends muscle car.  Oh my!  That was pretty exciting too.  He really enjoyed seeing my grin as he was accelerating.  I also remember as a child being in those cars with adults and feeling their excitement, sense of control and pride. I even remember that a gas pedal was a chromed barefoot.  It must be where I got my urge to drive a manual car. Cuz’ with a standard you can accelerate faster and feel in control of your car.  Yes I love speed.

Where else does it translate in my life?  Well, when I start a project, a journey, I want it all to unfold quickly, in a controlled fashion.  Does it happen that way?  Rarely.  And it used to frustrate me sooo much.  Now I’m realizing that it’s probably better that way. Life has a certain wisdom.  Would I have really been ready to speak in front of 2000 people as I was visualizing it, right after my LifeSuccess Consultant training?  Definitely not.  I would have been really nervous and overwhelmed.  Instead I’ve been preparing myself with smaller speaking engagements to become a world-class speaker.

I also remember that when my kids were babies I thought that they weren’t growing up fast enough.  That I would be stuck in that high demand period forever.  And even though my mom was telling me that before long they would be teenagers, it was hard to grasp that concept. Lately I look at them, now almost 16 and 14, and I can’t get over how quickly it has gone by, in a way. It’s weird to look at them, taller than me.  Where as time flied by?

I’m learning to slow down and appreciate the moment. And it’s sometimes strange.  I feel like I’m looking at someone else, because this “Relax!“ mode was so foreign to me, not so long ago.  A friend of mine even complimented me on my slower pace, saying that it was a nice change from my tight and busy schedule that was my lifestyle not even a year ago.

What brought that change about?  My being tired and realizing that I was trying to keep up with my husband.  He is adrenaline driven and I could only keep up with that speed so long before crashing down, energy less. And lately I heard that unlike men adrenaline depletes women’s energy and leaves us exhausted.  Tada!  That’s why I couldn’t keep up!  I was yet again trying to do things in a manly fashion. Just like when I crave that speed with a car or on a plane. I want to feel that I have power and that I’m in control.  But what do we really control besides our mind?  Nothing.  So speed and control are both illusions.

As we are starting the landing approach I become aware that slowing down requires more control.  Just like in life.

Is it easier to catch all the balls life throws at us or to only catch the important ones and dodge the rest?  It’s sound lest exhausting to me…

I understand now that I need to find a model of success achieved in a womanly fashion, making very good money and being highly respected.  Any suggestions?

Listen to your body…

I have been experiencing a bit of discomfort from my hip since I did a TRE session (Trauma Release Exercise) back in October.  And for the second time since then I took “Le grand dictionnaire des malaises et maladies” by  Jacques Martel out and checked for  what my body is trying to tell me.

Hips represent your ability or desire to move forward. Painful hips occur when you start questioning the why and how of things.  You wonder if you have the right to live for yourself or if you have to continue living for everybody like you’ve always been.  There is a link between this pain in moving forward and the sense of autonomy, independence. My body is trying to tell me that I have a certain stiffness, resistance and rigidity toward a situation or person, because I felt betrayed or abandoned.

I just couldn’t grasp it the first time I read it.  I was in disbelief that I, Chantal, would be having an issue with moving forward in my preferred future. After all, that’s what I help people do, for a living. Since then, life has been showing me a few things that bring evidence to what I cited above.  I have finally decided to get information on what is PTSD and its impact on me, my kids, my relationship because I had enough of living for my family, putting their needs up front all the time, and many times putting my dreams on the back burner.  A little bit frustrating for someone like me.  I like to pursue new ventures and feel free.  But now I feel like I have to tiptoe my way to it.  I feel abandoned because this relationship use to be about team work and spirit, and it’s nothing like that anymore.  This weekend I became aware that independance to me is being in a “do-it yourself” mode because when you’re independent you can’t rely on anyone. Is this really true? No.  You can be independent and co-operate with others to bring forth your dreams.

Is my body talking to me louder than I would like?  Well…  I know it could be worse, I could have a broken hip instead of a painful one.  So, now what… what can I do about this?  I started seeing a physiotherapist; have taken a different approach with my personal life coach; have seek advice from my fitness coach on what muscles I can work to get better; have been doing Tong Ren for it, have been in contact with someone that offers support to spouses of military or ex-military that are living in a relationship affected by PTSD; I’m reading more on PTSD and its effects and this new understanding is allowing me to be gentle with me, the kids and my spouse.

I think I’m on the right track…  and I’m positive that the future will confirm it.

Vision as per Mary Morrissey

Here is a video published on Paul Martinelli’s blog about the power of vision. He is letting his friend Mary Morrissey share her knowledge on this, and it is good!  She puts a new perspective on the quote by Henry David Thoreau that says “If a person will advance confidently in the direction of their dream and endeavor to live the life they have imagined, they will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”

Here is the link to Paul Martinelli’s page to view the video and get the document mentionned in the video.


Pushing my limits

This past weekend I went to TreeGo with my family and some of my kids’ friends.  I was really enthused and looking forward to the experience.  I like trying new things. We’ve seen people crossing the water on a zip line over water next to our sailboat and it looked pretty exciting.  Plus my son had gone with the cadets last year and he was talking about it since.  We called, reserved and were told to have sneakers on.  That’s it!  Pretty easy!

We were 7 and we had a range of reactions by the end of it that went from “I didn’t really like it” to “I want to do it again”. It wasn’t a consensus. Just like real life and the challenges we face as groups. The four hours it took us to do the 4 courses where an open door to view how people face challenges and new adventures.  I observed caution, being pushed, being ridiculed, bragging, concentration, pushing the limits, trying to see the best, seeing the impossibility, being excited, being discouraged, taking one step at a time, wanting to be at the end of the next challenge before starting it.

As I was observing the others, I was also observing me.  And I saw once more that I like to take my time, I hate feeling rushed, I’d rather do it without being observed, I want to figure it out by myself most of the time, but when I’m faced with a challenge that seems too big for me I’m willing to listen and take in another person’s experience especially if I see this person as someone with a lot of experience in this field, I like to be encouraged when I’m discouraged, I can focus and trust my abilities.

At the end of it, I felt like if I had been pushing my limits, both physical and mental for half of the time.  I was exhausted and I still pushed myself to continue because I had been told that the last part was the best part.  Well the best part was very short in my mind’s eye, just like when you focus on the prize and forget to enjoy the journey. I’m the one who said “I didn’t really like it” and that’s probably because I was dehydrated and hungry, pushing my body too much for something I didn’t really perceive like a real achievement, and had not check out what kind of adventure I was embarking on.

The outcome for me: I’ve been confirmed again in my strength and my ability to push my limits.  Now I have to remember to enjoy the ride all the way there.

Life is good!

The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale

Today I received an email from Simple Truths with an excerpt of The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale and it prompted me to think of the first time I heard the recording of The Strangest Secret.  I was still very new to the personal development field, I had been to my first seminar and met an amazing man, Lee A. Haskin, that shared with me the link to the audio.  I’ve listened to it soooo many times, I trust you will like it too.  Here is the link on Mark Victor Hansen’s website where you need to give your name and email to receive the download link for free.  Enjoy!

What is YOUR Definition of Success?

I was just reading a blog post on BizLaunch and it inspired me to write this post on Success.  It’s a subject that I coach people on and it’s always surprising to hear the answers.  Usually, we first start by giving a definition of what we think success should be according to how we have been raised.

  • Having enough money
  • Having a successful business
  • Having an expensive car and house in the most prestigious neighbourhood of your city
  • Being a CEO or top executive in the company you work for
  • Being the best mom or dad you can be to your children
  • Being a World Champion in your sport
  • Winning a Nobel Prize
  • Being a world leader in your field of expertise
  • Being a community leader
  • Having a business and having fun while sharing your passion

When I looked in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, success has 3 meaning:  degree or measure of succeeding; the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence; favorable or desired outcome.  I like when I can to find the root of the word to see what the original meaning was, and in this case success comes from the Latin word successus which means an outcome.

As many people my definition of success was related to money, until I started my journey in the personal development world.  I now know that we evolve in many areas at the same time: personal, professional, relationships, spiritual, physical (body), and financial.  If I privilege only one of these areas, can I say that I am really successful?  For example I can have a very successful business, make very good money with it, but I have been divorced 3 times, I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a stiff back.  To what extent am I successful?  I have privileged 2 areas out of six and as a result I really don’t feel that successful, I feel my life is empty.  How can this be? I fit in the criterias I thought represented success in my world!

Let’s come back to the definition of success:  an outcome.  What is your preferred outcome, your ideal?  What if you started shaping your life according to that ideal or outcome?  Remember to have as many of the 6 areas as possible in your vision, and you will have a feeling of overall satisfaction when you look at your life.

I have learned this definition of success in Success Puzzle a program created by Bob Proctor: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal”.  It has changed my whole perspective on what is success to ME, the most important person in my life.

Start your own reflection on what YOUR definition of success is, and share it by leaving a comment!

Receiving – Easy or Hard?

The past few weeks I have been on the lookout for signs on the Law of Receiving.  In a previous post I gave a bit of background on this Law, information that I learned in The 11 forgotten Laws and Raymond Holliwell’s book Working with the Law.

When you start being aware of something, it’s like if it jumps in your face all the time. In the case of the Law of Receiving, I am becoming more and more aware that people’s ability to receive is weak.

–  You offer a compliment and it’s rejected or diminished: “Oh, this old thing…” or  “I’m not that good” or “That’s not what my life partner says…”

–  You want to pay the check at the restaurant and you have to get into a fight with the other person to finally get to pay.

–  You are offering to help your host when you are invited for supper and it’s not accepted, even something as easy as washing the dishes after we are finished eating:  “No!  You’re not touching anything!  I will take care of that in the morning!”  Yet when you invite them they are the first at the sink doing the dishes…

–  You are offering to share your knowledge for a specific problem and they answer:  “We don’t want to bother you with this.  You are so busy…”

–  You are being offered a present and you answer in the case of a tangible gift “You shouldn’t have, I don’t deserve this.” or, in the case of an intangible gift, you simply refuse it by answering “No.”

I want to take all the underlying reasons that could be at the origin of these actions.  I want to look at the result which is refusing the good that is offered to us.  We are willing to give but unwilling to receive.  We are simply stopping the flow because giving precedes receiving they say in the book and the program and they are the two sides of the same coin.  We are accepting to give and give and give but we are refusing to receive even the smallest token of appreciation for what we have given.

We become better receiver when we become aware and understand that the two go hand in hand.  Many of us have been raised with the idea that it is better to give than to receive.  We are making a mistake in the understanding of this sentence.  We hear “than” when it’s really written “then”.  Let’s look at this sentence again with the correct word:  It is better to give then to receive.  What do you now understand?  Quite a shift, isn’t it?

Please strengthen your receiving muscle and stop to think of your answer when you are offered something.  You will then be on your way to receive more and more from life.  Remember though, it takes time and practice…

Have fun receiving!

Growing and our Comfort Zone

I received an email with a quote today from Paul Martinelli and it said “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone”.  Thank you for the reminder Paul!  I have been out of my comfort zone for a few years now, since I decided to become a LifeSuccess Consultant.  And today I needed to be reminded that I am growing, that’s why I feel uneasy about my next steps.

I have been asked to start working on a few projects, completely out of my league, but amazingly in line with where I’m going.  And I’m having one of those moments when you ask looking up in the sky “How am I suppose to do that?” and then I hear Bob Proctor saying “You don’t know how, it’s going to be shown to you.”  Ever since I have heard that sentence by Bob Proctor in the movie The Secret, it has triggered my letting go and trusting that Life is good.  Every time that I have embraced an opportunity and trusted that I would know how on the way, it did happen.  Have I grown?  Definitely!  Am I better?  In a few areas I am…  I am not perfect, and no one is on this planet, since we’re all here to learn and grow.  Do I have a greater confidence in my abilities?  Absolutely!

I use to be paralysed by indecision: I didn’t want to be out there in a danger zone.  The mass consciousness of fear was very prevalent in my life.  I took on a challenge only if I knew I could succeed and I was encouraged by others.  Not anymore.  I make my own decisions, according to where I’m heading, and then sometimes discuss it.  I have the tendency to give a challenge everything I got. I think that’s how I grow and keep myself out of my comfort zone.

This weekend, I got a proof that I am leading by example. My 15 year old son was commenting that too many of his school mates didn’t like getting out there, out of their comfort zone.  I asked more details, to see if we were talking about the same thing, and was I surprised!  I love those moments when I get a sign that I did a good job, so far, at being a parent.  He was telling me that he thinks they don’t like to try new things or to take risks and that they are not living fully their youth. Sad…

His final comment was:  I don’t like being in a comfort zone, it’s boring.

Keep growing and thinking like that!